I work for a utility company (I'm a college student). Outages are part of life.
Whenever there is an outage, the phone rings off the hook. I kind of have set a goal to stop these phone calls so the office can be more productive.
My first idea wasn't accepted and it probably wasn't the best way to do this. I wanted to send out postcards to customers to get their cell phone number, then create an application in Twilio so we could easily text them to let them know their water is off. Then text them when it's back on.
Our current website is bush-league (consolidatedutilities.com). I'm rebuilding the site in WordPress, and right now I have a Bootstrap carousel that I'm going to integrate as a custom post type. The office can post alerts, I may create a shortcode that links to the posts page so they can use it during a hurricane.
So one thing I was thinking about doing is using an answering service - I've noticed my electric company tells me they are aware of the outage and that they are working on it. I don't talk to anyone but I know they are aware of the outage and they give me a time estimate.
I wanted to propose maybe using an answering service that can be turned on to say 'we are aware of the outage' maybe point them to our website. I have no idea how to use an answering service. I don't know anything about those services, those answering services offices have.
Any suggestions to stop the calls would be appreciated. I really wish they would let us send out SMS, Twilio is pretty incredible what you can do with it.
I post a lot of really dumb vague questions on this site, but often times I get really good resonses. I think if I could stop the phone calls the office would appreciate it. Any ideas on how to do this, in a way that is mindful of the customer would be great.